Double surnames

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Double surnames

Postby cliklm » 11 May 2012, 21:18

I have been researching church and Riveli records for the 1600-1700's in various Sicilian locales and I have run across instances where there is a double surname, ie, Geraci Purdentia (some of the church records show Geraci, alias Purdentia), Colletti e Musso, Musso e Colletti.

Sometimes these same people are referred to with only one name, ie, Geraci or Purdentia, making it quite confusing when trying to trace a family line. In one 1714 Riveli there is a deceased Giuseppe Tomaso Musso e Colletti, yet his widow is called Caterina Colletti (her maiden name was di Genova). But their son is called Matteo Musso!

I originally though that perhaps one name is the fathers and the second the mothers but this has proven false. I am trying to figure out the significance of two surnames and why some of their children use only one of the surnames. Can someone explain this?

Thank you,
Kathy Montelaro
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Re: Double surnames

Postby Tessa78 » 11 May 2012, 21:42

Hi Kathy :-)

Here is a link to an earlier thread with a discussion of double surnames. Maybe it will offer some insight :-)

topic17766.html

T.
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Re: Double surnames

Postby cliklm » 12 May 2012, 01:15

Thank you Tessa. I'll study this link.

Kathy
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Re: Double surnames

Postby ajcris13 » 13 May 2012, 03:13

Hi Kathy,

I too have an ancestor who appears in church records as Giovanna Colella and then as Giovanna Minchi-Petrucci and the name finally reverts back to Giovanna Colella. In my ancestor's case she married a Mancini (Minchi - old spelling) and may have been a descendent of the Mancini & Petrucci clans herself.

It was explained to me that there are a number of explanations for the double names:

1) The mother might have remarried and the priest or notary may have used the new father's or linked it to the prior father's name.

2) Using a second name may have been a way to distinguish one clan from another clan in the area with the same name. Most of these names were hyphenated.

3) The individual was related to a family of a higher social level and they wanted that fact to be recognized. Again Hyphenated names were used.

The fact that I have found that this differences only lasts a generation or two and the name reverts back to its original forms (most times).

Hope this helps

Artie
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Re: Double surnames

Postby alidacastorano » 17 Oct 2012, 14:39

In my family the double surname has lasted many, many generations which still baffles me as to why there are two names: Zambuto Sitra.

I like your reason #2- to distinguish from another clan. It seems to make sense since they were all from Agrigento (Girgenti). But then I wonder, why didn't that happen with all families?
Thank you for the information.
~Alida
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